Quick tips to remember when staying outdoors in summer

A man lying on the grass in the sun with his dog.

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Summer is here! It’s the best time to go outdoors. Have fun but remember to:

Protect your skin

Always check the temperature and UV index before going outside. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause skin cancer and other health problems. If the index is 3 or higher, you need to wear protective clothes. Check the Canadian Daily UV Index Forecast to know the index for the day.

Before going out, remember:

  • Wear proper clothing – Mornings can be cooler, so you might need a light jacket. You can take it off later. Wear light-colored clothes made from cotton or linen. These materials help you stay cool and dry. Sunglasses are good to have, especially when driving. They help you see better by reducing glare. A hat and an umbrella can also be useful.
  • Stay hydrated – Always bring water when you go for a walk, hike, or bike ride. Drink cool liquids before you feel thirsty. This helps you avoid getting too hot and sick from the heat.
  • Wear sunblock – Sunblock or sunscreen protects your skin from harmful sun rays. The best kind protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Use one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Put it on 20 minutes before going outside. You need to put more on 20 minutes after and every two hours after that. This is important if you are swimming or doing activities that make you sweat. Do not use sunscreen on babies younger than six months.
  • Don’t leave people or pets in a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight for a long time. Heat in closed spaces can be very hot and cause heatstroke. New Winnipeg pet guidelines say you cannot leave pets alone in cars when it is 22°C or warmer (unless your car is running and has working air conditioning).
  • Limit your time in the sun – Try not to be in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The sun’s rays are strongest during this time.

Keep bugs away

Ticks

Ticks can carry sicknesses (like Lyme disease). Stay away from them. If you are going to a place with many trees:

  1. Use tick repellent on skin and clothes (follow the instructions on the label).
  2. Walk in the middle of walking paths.
  3. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  4. Check yourself, children, and pets after being outside.
  5. Take off ticks as soon as possible (and be careful!).
  6. Shower within two hours of coming inside.
  7. Keep the grass and bushes around homes short. This makes the area drier and not good for blacklegged ticks to live.

Learn more about Lyme disease and other illnesses caused by ticks: Tick season in Manitoba: How to protect yourself from bites. You can also go to the Government of Manitoba CDC (Tick-Borne Diseases) page for more information.

If you think a tick bite made you sick, go to your doctor. You can also call Health-Links-Info Sante at 204-788-8200 or 1-888 315-9257 (toll-free).

Mosquitoes

June to July is mosquito season in Manitoba. Insect repellent helps keep you safe when going outside. Put it on your skin (over your sunscreen) or spray it on your clothes. If you don’t know which insect repellent to buy, this article from CTV news can help you: Repelling mosquitoes: A guide to what works and what doesn’t.

Mosquitoes come out after sunset. If you need to go out, use bug spray on your skin. Wear light-colored, loose clothes that cover your arms, neck, and legs.
 
Sources: The Government of Canada site (Sun safety basics) and Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors – Communicable Disease Control (CDC).

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